loud popcorn eating vs awkward PDA’s – the cinema experience

Making it to the movies on time on Thursday night depended on three limitations. Torsten Hägerstrand explores these “constraints” and how important they are to human activity, especially social activity. Capability was my main challenge, which “refer(s) to the limitations on human movement due to physical or biological factors” (Corbett 2001). Was I able to leave university at 4:30, pick up my boyfriend and drive to Miranda in time for a 6:40 screening? Only just. Luckily my coupling limitation was a lot simpler, Luke only works during the day, so he is always available to go out during the evening. And finally, “an authority constraint is an area controlled by certain people that set limits on access.”(Corbett 2001). We purchased tickets, even though no one ever checks our tickets since the cinema was renovated and moved a few years ago. And funnily enough, I had a split-second moment where I was unsure if I was allowed in an MA movie, even though I’ve been of-age for four years now.

The only repercussion from the space and time limitations we were faced with was that we didn’t have enough time to go to Woolworths to buy our snacks, which led us to having to buy from the cinema snack bar. I usually overlook this part of the movie lobby, it becomes a “non-place” as I usually pass straight through it. However, this time around it posed more purpose as I excitedly poured myself popcorn, the price of the food quickly became double the price of our tickets.

One place that I find is a “non-place”, which according to Marc Augé is a space of transience that doesn’t hold enough significance or duration to be regarded as a place, (Augé 1995) is the dark corridor between the entry door to the theatre and the theatre itself. It almost feels like a wormhole and once you get to the other side, you are in a completely new space. The space itself feels safe, strangely enough considering you are in a dark room full of strangers, and even more, possibly under surveillance by anti-piracy technology (Van der Sar 2010). We found our seats, which by my request were “towards the back, in the centre” and this appeared to be a popular preference, with a couple sat directly in the seats in front of us. They were probably equally annoyed by my loud popcorn eating as I was by their constant, super awkward PDA session.

Much to my anxiety, I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the movie, rushing to and from in order to not miss any important plot details or moments, but much to my disappointment, I was informed on my return that I did miss an important scene. This contributes to the idea that the cinema going experience is so much more than just the film because honestly, I don’t think I would have ever watched this movie if it was never showing in cinemas. But to me, movies are always so much better in cinemas, you become so invested and immersed. Using your phone is frowned upon so you have full attention and compared to watching movies at home you don’t have the option to pause it, which inevitably interrupts the flow. The availability of watching movies in the comfort of your own home thanks to internet streaming has admittedly resulted in less trips to the cinemas, (Plaugic 2018) but I think this makes it all the more special when you do take your time to go out and enjoy a movie in this fascinating space.



Augé, M 1995 Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity

Corbett, J 2001 ‘Torsten Hӓgerstrand, Time Geography.’ in CSISS Classics

Plaugic, L 2018 ‘Domestic movie theatre attendance hit a 25-year low in 2017’ in The Verge https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/3/16844662/movie-theater-attendance-2017-low-netflix-streaming 

Van der Sar, E 2010 ‘Anti-Piracy Tool For Cinemas Will Recognise Emotions’ in Torrentfreak https://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-tool-for-cinemas-will-recognize-emotions-101102/

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